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Paige's Page, Hareb that is, on chasing the dream in Rio


Paige's Page

Paige's Page - Chasing the Dream

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 23 October, 2008 : - - Oi! After a week in Florianopilas, getting third in the comp and missing out on improving my overall ratings points by one heat, I was pretty gutted. This had me fired up for the next one. To improve my points I had to make the final so I put a little bit of pressure on myself to do well.  But at the same time I still felt pretty relaxed.

Brazil is often a place that comes up in conversation when you ask people where they want to travel to. Now I can see why. I spent a whole week in Rio baby! Yes, Rio de Janeiro. What an experience! It only took 30 minutes to drive from the airport to the beach but I couldn’t believe how many “favelas” we passed in that time.

“Favelas” are what they call the poor people’s houses in Brazil. Only you can’t really call these “houses”. They are so bad.  It’s impossible to think that people live in them, let alone how many. I was gobsmacked.  I’d look from one side of the car and then to another, and there they were – rows and rows of them for miles and miles, so jammed together that you can’t even see any greenery or road inbetween.

They were all made of broken and crooked bricks and, I’m sure, anything else that they could find lying around. One decent sized earthquake and I reckon it would all be destroyed. On one tour, we drove right through the middle of a Favela area.  The doors had to be locked and we weren’t allowed to take any photos.

None of these places had windows and barely looked liveable. New Zealand, we are so lucky and we should never forget it! I stayed at a hotel right on the beachfront and only a 50m walk to the contest site, and when you’re that close you think you have everything under control. Yeah, right!

The morning they put the girls out, I was in the first heat and I nearly missed it! I was lucky that one of the other girls ran down the beach to tell me. I stripped down to just my bikini in the lobby of the hotel, sprinted through the restaurant with just my surfboard under my arm and along the beachfront to grab my competition rash shirt just in time to make the start of my heat.

I felt like I was scene from Bay Watch! I ended up getting lots of good waves and won the heat. So much for pre-heat preparation, that went straight out the door. Maybe I should be late more often cause then I have no time to think about what I’m doing and no time to get nervous! Anyway the surf was pretty small the whole event but it was a fun left hand point/beach break which suited me as a goofy-footer. 

I got through my next few heats and into the two-competitor semi-finals against Hawaii’s Coco Ho. She is one of the top up-and-coming surfers and I needed to beat her to make the final and improve my overall rating points. No pressure Paige! It was a very close semi with the lead changing a few times but I came through with the win. The waves made it hard work in the final against Brazil’s Diana Cristina de Souza. 

It was really hard to get more than two turns out of a wave but the conditions were the same for both of us. I really wish I didn’t have to say this but it’s really hard to beat a Brazilian in Brazil. Halfway through the heat I needed something like a 7.4 ride and the judges gave me a 7.2 score.  Then at the end of my heat I needed a 5.2 and I got a wave, paddled out the back and waited for the score. And waited.

They took so long to decide on that score. The commentator said over the speaker “just waiting for the last judge to type in his score”. Talk about intense with a minute to go! I ended up getting a 5.1 just missing out on the score again! Missing out by that much really does gut you! The positive way of looking at getting second is I still improved my overall ratings points slightly and remained at fifth place on the WQS (World Qualifying Series). Also I think Brazil got the result they wanted.

But it doesn’t make the loss any easier to stomach when a judge comes up to you after prize giving and says ‘I had you down as being the winner’. Jeez thanks. Anyway I’m still in a good position to qualify for the WCT (World Championship Tour) ‘Dream Tour’ next year with one WQS event to go.  That comp is in Hawaii at the famous break Haleiwa.

My next blog will be explaining the training, big boards and just how different Hawaii is from everywhere else! Bring it on! My mum and I were lucky enough to be tourists for a day and got to see the famous statue of Christ on top of a mountain. We had amazing 360-degree views of Rio. We also got to see the famous Maracana Fotebol stadium – Brazil is crazy on soccer!

The first time I went to Brazil I didn’t really like it but the few times that I have been this year, I really have enjoyed it. I definitely recommend Rio as a holiday stop. The people are so friendly and helpful, although it is tough at times when most of them don’t speak English. At some stage, I will be back to Brazil! Obrigado   

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Paige Hareb

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